Determinants of the 1991-93 Japanese recession: evidence from a structural model of the Japanese economy
The objectives of this paper are to determine the extent to which various factors contributed to the current recession in Japan and to assess whether the recent behavior of the Japanese economy differs from that in previous recessions. Toward that end, we develop a small, structural macroeconometric model of the Japanese economy and estimate it using data from 1971 Q1 through 1991 Q1, the period just prior to the recent downturn. The important results can be summarized as follows. First, the severity of the current recession probably does not reflect structural economic changes. Second, the poor economic performance in 1991-1993 period was to some extent predictable, reflecting the unwinding of imbalances that developed during the preceding expansion. Finally, unpredictable movements in exchange rates, land and stock prices occurring after 1991 played an important, but not predominant, part in accentuating the downturn, while unusually stimulative fiscal and monetary policies appear to have contributed substantially to GDP during the recession.
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